Qantas CEO Downplays Omicron Threat With Upbeat View on Recovery
(Bloomberg) -- Qantas Airways Ltd. Chief Executive Officer Alan Joyce is optimistic about a recovery in air travel even as coronavirus variant omicron sweeps across major markets and triggers fresh restrictions on movement.
“We have confidence that the market recovery is fundamentally on track,” he said on a call Thursday. “Omicron seems to be a lot more transmissible, but it’s not as severe as delta and the vaccines are still effective.”
Joyce said “every indicator is positive” and there’s “huge pent-up demand” in the Australian domestic market. To meet that, Qantas has brought forward the return of some stood-down employees by six months, he said.
While Qantas’s domestic capacity is seen exceeding pre-Covid levels in the first three months next year, the outlook is dimmer on overseas routes. The airline, which announced a blockbuster order of Airbus SE aircraft Thursday, expects international capacity to be less than a third of normal levels in early 2022.
Omicron has exploded ahead of the year-end holidays in much of the world. Daily infections in the U.K. are at a record and Singapore has warned of an “omicron wave.” Canada has advised residents to avoid non-essential travel.
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